#DOMA ruled unconstitutional, more on Voting Rights Act decision, TX State Sen. Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster of restrictive abortion bill garners national attention, N.C. Senate doesn’t want fracking chemicals disclosed to public, Edward Markey wins MA Special Senate election
Chicago Tribune: Supreme Court strikes down key part of Defense of Marriage Act
The U.S. Supreme Court this morning struck down part of a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples in a major victory for the gay rights movement. The ruling, on a 5-4 vote, means that legally married gay men and women are entitled to claim the same federal benefits that are available to opposite-sex married couples.
USA Today: Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act
A divided Supreme Court gave a major boost to gay and lesbian rights on Wednesday, striking down a key section of a federal law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. The justices declared unconstitutional part of the 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, a law that has denied federal benefits to married gays and lesbians in a dozen states, from Maine to Washington, and the District of Columbia. The decision gives the high court’s blessing, at least in part, to a gay-marriage movement that has gained momentum in the past decade and now stands on the threshold of full equality.
Q-Notes: Supreme Court strikes down anti-gay federal marriage ban, California’s Prop. 8 overturned
The Court ruled 5-4 to strike down DOMA on the grounds of Equal Protection, saying that it is an unconstitutional deprivation of liberty and a violation of the Constitution’s due process rights as guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment. “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” the court ruled, the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
AP: Gay Rights Supporters Erupt in Cheers Over Ruling
Chanting "DOMA is Dead," supporters of same-sex marriage burst into cheers Wednesday at news of the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating part of a law denying gay marriage partners the same federal benefits heterosexual couples enjoy. Sarah Prager, 26, cried when she heard the news standing outside the court. Prager married her wife in Massachusetts in 2011 and now lives in Maryland."I’m in shock. I didn’t expect DOMA to be struck down," she said through tears and shaking.
Huffington Post: Supreme Court Rules Prop 8 Unconstitutional
The Supreme Court on Wednesday left for dead California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, but the question of gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional right to marry remains very much alive. By a 5-4 vote, the justices held in Hollingsworth v. Perry that the traditional marriage activists who put Proposition 8 on California ballots in 2008 did not have the constitutional authority, or standing, to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial.
NBC: Supreme Court Won’t Take Up Prop 8 Case, Same-Sex Marriages Likely to Resume
The U.S. Supreme Court decided Wednesday it will not take up a challenge to California’s voter-approved Prop 8 — a ban on same-sex marriage that landed before the Justices after years of legal battles. The ruling states the people who brought this case — Prop 8 supporters — had no legal standing to bring the case to the Supreme Court. The decision likely means same-sex marriage can resume in California.
VOTING RIGHTS ACT
Washington Post: Voting Rights Act ruling: Here’s what you need to know
Today, the Supreme Court tossed out Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the key 1965 law meant to prevent disenfranchisement of minority voters. Section 4 says states and other jurisdictions that have sufficient histories of voting discrimination have to go through what’s called “preclearance” under Section 5 of the law whenever they redistrict or otherwise update their voting laws. Currently those jurisdictions cover most of the South but also Manhattan, Brooklyn, some counties in California and South Dakota, and towns in Michigan.
Charlotte Observer: Court ruling expected to impact N.C.
Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act could have far-reaching effects in North Carolina – affecting everything from voting districts to voter ID legislation. “It looks like this is going to be a major decision that will impact North Carolina in some way, shape or form,” said Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer.
Winston-Salem Journal: States promise quick action on election laws
Across the South, Republicans are working to take advantage of a new political landscape after a divided U.S. Supreme Court freed all or part of 15 states, many of them in the old Confederacy, from having to ask Washington’s permission before changing election procedures in jurisdictions with histories of discrimination. After the high court announced its momentous ruling Tuesday, officials in Texas and Mississippi pledged to immediately implement laws requiring voters to show photo identification before getting a ballot. North Carolina Republicans promised they would quickly try to adopt a similar law. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 opinion that struck down as outdated a key provision of the landmark 1965 law credited with ensuring ballot access to millions of black Americans, American Indians and other minorities.
Washington Post: Where Tuesday’s Voting Rights Act ruling matters, in one map
Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which outlines how the government is to determine which states, counties, towns, and other jurisdictions have to have their voting laws “precleared” by the Justice Department, is unconstitutional.
High Country Press: Hagan ‘Deeply Discouraged’ That Supreme Court Strikes Down Section 4 of Landmark Voting Rights Act
“I am deeply discouraged that the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the landmark Voting Rights Act that exists to prevent racially discriminatory voting practices. Though our country has come a long way since this law was enacted, injustice still exists and threatens the rights of minority voters.
Politico: Eric Holder: Despite ruling, DOJ ‘will not hesitate’ to protect voters
The Justice Department will continue to protect Americans’ voting rights by all legal means, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday, responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a key piece of the Voting Rights Act. By overturning the formula that forces certain states and localities to seek advance permission for changes to voting procedures, the high court has "invalidated an essential part of the Voting Rights Act, a cornerstone of American civil rights law," Holder told reporters. But the Obama administration will keep pushing to protect voters, he said.
Politico: Rep. John Lewis: Supreme Court Ruling ‘a dagger’
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) expressed personal disappointment at the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, calling the ruling a “dagger.” “What the Supreme Court did was to put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Lewis told ABC News on Tuesday. “This act helped liberate not just a people but a nation.” “The Voting Rights Act has been very successful during the last 48 years,” Lewis continued, “but there are still problems all across the country where the Voting Rights Act needs to be strictly enforced.”
WRAL: Is McCrory’s tax vision a mirage?
Does Gov. Pat McCrory have a tax plan? It depends on who you ask. "The governor has not made or approved any proposal on tax reform," Budget Director Art Pope said Tuesday. McCrory himself has refused to outline specific tax proposals, telling WRAL several week ago, that he was keeping “an open line of communication” with lawmakers. However, those knowledgeable about the ongoing negotiations over a tax reform bill between the House and Senate say a spreadsheet circulating among lawmakers at the legislative building represents an offer from McCrory’s office. Sources associated with both the House and the Senate say the document came directly from Pope and represented the governor’s ante into the negotiations.
USA Today: Wendy Davis, once a teen mom, leads abortion filibuster
To lead their nearly 13-hour filibuster aimed at blocking a contentious abortion bill, Texas Democrats turned to a 50-year-old lawmaker who pulled herself up from a tough background as a teenage mother to graduate from Harvard law school. Once dismissed by Gov. Rick Perry as a "show horse," Sen. Wendy Davis has earned a reputation for being willing to spar with the state dominant political party and its leaders. "She’s a total fighter," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and daughter of the late former Texas governor Ann Richards. "And the thing about Senator Davis, she says he’s going to do something, she gets it done.
New York Magazine: Texas Lawmaker Will Filibuster for 13 Hours to Block Anti-Abortion Bill
Texas is on the verge of adopting the nation’s latest restrictive anti-abortion bill, one that not only bans all abortions after twenty weeks — including for pregnancies arising from rape or incest — but would force 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics to close of new building code requirements. But one Democratic state senator is standing — LITERALLY! — in the way. Thirteen hours happens to be almost the exact same length of time as Rand Paul’s famous anti-drone filibuster in March. Like Paul, Davis can’t leave the floor, even to go to the bathroom. But, unlike Paul, she isn’t even allowed to so much as lean on her desk. Davis came prepared.
Politico: President Obama’s climate speech: 10 takeaways
President Barack Obama outlined a wide-ranging climate plan Tuesday that’s centered on greenhouse gas regulations for power plants — while making a surprise mention of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and defending his increasingly embattled nominee for EPA administrator. Both supporters and opponents of the pipeline issued statements during the speech calling Obama’s words favorable for their side.
News & Observer: NC Senate committee says full chemical disclosure not required to frack
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources overwhelmingly approved the bill. It would allow energy companies to keep secret the chemicals they use in fracking if they deem them to be competitive trade secrets. The data would have to be revealed in the event of a fracking accident that became a public emergency. “There is no rule the public cares about more than public disclosure, what is being put in their water,” said Molly Diggins, director of the state office of the Sierra Club. “The path has been toward maximum disclosure. This legislation is a pre-emptive strike to prevent the development of such a rule.”
Dome: GOP lawmakers push bill to keep fracking chemicals secret
A state Senate committee voted Tuesday to allow shale gas exploration companies to engage in fracking in the state without fully disclosing the chemicals they plan to inject underground. Tuesday’s vote alarmed environmental advocates, who had hoped North Carolina would impose the nation’s strictest chemical disclosure rules. “There is no rule the public cares about more than public disclosure, what is being put in their water,” said Molly Diggins, director of the state office of the Sierra Club. “The path has been toward maximum disclosure. This legislation is a pre-emptive strike to prevent the development of such a rule.”
Politico: Harry Reid: House ‘crazies’ pushing John Boehner on immigration
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that some members of the House Republican majority are “crazies” that are pushing Speaker John Boehner not to accept a bipartisan immigration bill. “The point is: I’m not sure he or anyone else in the Republican leadership in the House really knows what they’re doing,” Reid added. Conservatives in the House have been pushing Boehner not to violate the “Hastert rule,” which dictates that GOP leadership not bring a bill to the floor without the majority of the House Republican Conference’s support. The Senate’s immigration bill will likely require significant Democratic support to pass the House.
Boston Globe: Edward Markey keeps party’s hold on Senate seat
Democrat Edward J. Markey, a 37-year veteran of the US House, cruised to victory Tuesday over Republican newcomer Gabriel E. Gomez in the US Senate special election, despite running a low-key campaign that drew record low voter turnout. Backed by an army of Democratic activists, unions, and advocacy groups, Markey rolled up large enough margins in the party’s strongholds around the state to overwhelm Gomez, who failed to generate the strong enthusiasm he needed among moderate independents and within his own Republican base.
Politico: Markey wins: Where’s the wave
If there’s a wave building for the 2014 elections, somebody forgot to tell Massachusetts. The state that heralded the GOP wave of 2010 by sending Republican Scott Brown to the Senate decided against a repeat performance Tuesday. In the Bay State’s second special Senate election in three years, Democratic Rep. Ed Markey coasted to victory against GOP businessman Gabriel Gomez. It’s a return to politics as usual in Democratic Massachusetts — and perhaps an early indication that after back-to-back midterm election tsunamis, the country might be in for a more conventional 2014.
Washington Post: On abortion, Republicans treat women like children
Last week, the House passed the most restrictive abortion bill to come to a vote in Congress in the past decade. Despite the efforts of Democrats and a few moderate Republicans who spoke out against the unconstitutional bill, which bans almost all abortions after 20 weeks, it passed 228 to 196. This is only the latest blow in the GOP’s all-out assault on women’s reproductive rights. But hiding behind a woman — especially one as anti-woman as Blackburn — isn’t going to fool anybody. How can women trust a lawmaker who voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act? If you put lipstick on a sexist, she’s still a sexist.
Washington Post: Supreme Court can’t stop demographics
Today, a 5 to 4 majority of the Supreme shamefully weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts led the court’s conservative wing in stripping the act of its most effective enforcement tool. But most violations of the Voting Rights Act still take place in the states of the old Confederacy. The solution should have been to expand the map of jurisdictions required to seek pre-clearance from the federal government for changes in election laws — rather than erase the map altogether.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party